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Shawnee alum Fields has productive freshman basketball season at O-State

Brian Johnson

After a productive freshman basketball season at Oklahoma State University, Lauren Fields is trying to make the most of preparing for her sophomore year.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, athletes have limited access to training facilities as Fields' form of working out is in front of the house with her dad Darryl on her two basketball goals.

“One thing to be a better player is being consistent with my jump shot,” Fields said.

Fields, a former Shawnee High School standout, All-State selection and 2019 Suburban Conference Player of the Year, gained invaluable experience as she started 17 of the Cowgirls' 30 games this past season while averaging 4.9 points, 2.1 rebounds. 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals.

“My freshman season gave me a lot of experience and I got a lot of minutes. To be able to have that experience was great,” said Fields. “One of the big adjustments was to the speed of the game and I got used to it. Being able to adjust to it should help me in the future.”

Oklahoma State head coach Jim Littell was extremely pleased, considering she got thrown into the fire early and often.

“Lauren had a great freshman year and got a lot of minutes,” said Littell. “We were very pleased with her. She was playing in an elite league (Big 12) and she got her feet wet.”

Indeed it was baptism by fire considering the defensive assignments she drew, according to Littell.

“In a game (against Oregon) in the Virgin Islands, she guarded National Player of the Year Sabrina Ionescu and she guarded fifth-year senior guard Tia Cooper at Baylor, so she kind of got thrown into the fire. I like how she handled it. This experience will be big for the rest of her career.”

Fields' defensive presence is what pleased her the most as well. She had two games – against Idaho State and Texas Tech – in which she recorded a career-best four steals.

“I feel like I've always been a good defensive player,” Fields said. “My defense helps my offense come along.”

Fields scored in double figures three times for OSU, including a career-best 13 against Idaho State. She also netted 12 against Rice and 10 against TCU. Fields also recorded five assists or more in five games, including eight helpers in a victory at Bedlam rival Oklahoma. She ended up with five assists each against Idaho State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Kansas.

Like Fields, Littell believes Fields' shot can get better.

“Yes it needs to continue to get better for her but I could say that about the rest of the team as a whole,” Littell said. “When the ball goes in the basket we're a better team and I'm a better coach. We'll work collectively to shoot the ball batter next year. At times, I thought it was nerves with Lauren. The game needs to slow down for her and it will the more time she spends on the floor.”

In the midst of getting that all-important first season under her belt, Fields developed into a multi-position player.

“I think the big thing I learned was being able to play multiple positions,” said Fields. “I was able to play a couple of games at point guard along with playing shooting guard.”

In Fields' opinion, her best two games were against the Texas Longhorns in Austin and against TCU at home. She had the 10 points, four boards and three assists in the 72-68 home loss to the Horned Frogs and had eight points and a pair of rebounds in the season finale at Texas, a 63-52 loss.

“I gained a lot of confidence. I felt like I stepped up and played point guard well (against the Longhorns),” Fields said. “Against TCU, we used a four-guard lineup and, even though we lost, I think I played well. The Idaho State game was a really good game for me too.”

OSU ended the season at 15-15 and was scheduled to play the Sooners in its Big 12 Tournament opener, before COVID-19 railroaded that opportunity. Despite the .500 record, believes the 2019-20 season is something that the Cowgirls can build on.

“I thought we should have done better, but we were really a young team and we only had two seniors and one of those was injured much of the season,” said Fields. “I think we'll have better chemistry and we seemed to have more as we played together and the season went along. We have incoming freshman who will be beneficial for us and knowing the teams in the Big 12 Conference and their styles of play.”

Littell believes Fields is a great asset to the Cowgirl program in multiple ways.

“She takes care of business on the floor and in the classroom and she has got the ability to be a good leader as she goes along in our program,” said Littell.

As for her high school alma mater, Fields was able to see the Lady Wolves play once this season against Ponca City, a loss, at OSU's Gallagher-Iba Arena to end the regular season.

“I thought they actually played really good,” Fields said. “(Shawnee) Coach (Wendi Wells) had a really good impact on me with her experience with the WNBA and playing in college. It really helped me. She always pushed me and she just didn't let me settle for things. A lot of my success is because of her.”